(Staggers into WordPress) Hey guys… (deletes)
(strolls into WordPress) Whatsup people? Missed me? (Deletes)
I spent minutes trying to compose the perfect first paragraph of my same old sorry-I-was-gone-now-I-am-back talk. I didn’t mean to go mute on everybody but life just has a way of happening and you can’t control it. Okay that sounds like a huge thing happened… No I didn’t get a divorce but something definitely happened.
You know that moment in your life when you think you are about to be the boss of your own shii? And you just gather everything together in your head, put them in a straight line and start to pick them one after the other and mold them into existence? I was at that phase, about to change my blog from a regular monologue and stories blog to a bangdadang with a whole lot of juicy sturv but NYSC released the call up letter without me doing one out of all the things I lined up in my head!
So everything went upside down, I began to rush around because that is what people do when they are about to go on a journey… (deletes) I began to rush around because that is what unprepared people do when they are about to go on a journey.
I eventually found myself in Paiko and then I knew life was about to show me in another way entirely. The commandant told us in his address that we are now in another environment and everything we was, we were, has been, was been is right outside the gate of Paiko waiting to be picked back up after three weeks. AND, in as much as we are in his domain, he does the thinking for us and what he meant by that is, our brains have been removed temporarily from us and kept in a jar filled with sodium lauryl sulphate. So you can imagine why I literally went off, the commandant never thinks in the direction of me updating my blog and my brain is in a jar getting washed regularly so it won’t be dusty when I eventually regain my freedom.
The first week was (blows nose and swallows tears), the first week was (bursts into uncontrollable tears). Is it the drills at 3am or the pap and beans that make your tummy giggle because it is such a funny combination? or the Tuwo everybody rejects but they cook the most? Or the always angry Paiko sun that glares down at us like it wasn’t pleased we invaded it territory? Or the soldiers!!! Don’t even get me started on those uniform wearing set of bullies who confuse your destiny with their barks and whistles like a set of deluded dogs desperately searching for the hunter. Who make you run out of the room half-dressed, clueless, not knowing where to turn to, who make your bladder feel like it would burst with a single bark of ‘OTOOOOONDOOO’
Soldiers who bestow you with names your parents dare not call you by. Soldiers who would call you ‘ogbanje, mami water, mamalawo, babalawo, family problem people’ to your face and all you can do is smile sheepishly or bow down your head in frustration.
Soldiers who herd you in and out of the hostel like sheep …
The SOLDIER is my sherperd, I shall not run.
He maketh me lie down in dirty grounds, he leadeth me through the freezing weather of Paiko.
He awakens my sleeping bones; he leadeth me through the drills for his selfish sake.
Yea, though I run into the hostel to sleep during SAED lectures, I will fear no commandant’s whip; for bandage hath with me, fake medical report and pretense, they comfort me.
Thou preparest weeks of torment in the presence of the state coordinator; thou anointest my head with the sun; fever runneth over.
Surely, hot bath water, good food and sleep shall follow all the days of my life; and I will dwell in my comfort zone for ever!.
It wasn’t easy enduring weeks of wearing the same uniform, eating the same food, doing the same thing over and over until it turns into an habit. It wasn’t easy faking high morale when the commandant asked ‘How is your morale?’ intentionally after drilling us for hours. There were times I wished I was a witch, I would have blocked the bugle and stopped it from blowing, I would have entered the commadant quarters and changed his haircut, I would have carved out a fowl in the middle of his head and paint it with white chalk. I would have written ‘I am a bully and I hate it when corps members are not suffering’ at the back of his tracksuit. I would have knocked him till he sees stars and spritz laughing gas in his nose in the middle of his threats on the parade ground.
I am in my mother’s house tying ankara wrapper and chilling on the chair in front of the television. Commandant come and beat me!